In wrestling, athletes build their skills around their physiques. We all know that size and height play a role but does weight matter in wrestling?
Weight definitely matters in wrestling because it is the standard wrestling competitions use, which is why they have weight classes. Weight also determines your strength, allowing you to perform wrestling moves better and become a better wrestler. Weight is also important in real fights.
Why is weight important in wrestling? What are weight classes for? Do I need to be strong to wrestle? Keep reading to learn the full breakdown.
Weight classes in wrestling competition
Wrestling is a competitive sport scored through takedowns and pins. These are heavily influenced by weight because it indicates a person’s build and affects their power.
If a wrestler is heavier, they are naturally stronger and can pin lighter wrestlers easier. It is important to have weight classes in a heavily physical wrestling match.
Weight classes are formed to establish a boundary so that people with similar builds and body masses face each other. This improves the competition and levels the field for all participating wrestlers.
The main point of weight classes is that it cancels out major weight differences so that the winner of the match would solely be based on who is the better wrestler in terms of technique.
Wrestling is pretty barebones in that the fighters don’t wear much except for a wrestling singlet, making any other advantages almost impossible.
Your grip is very limited and relying on your strength is the key.
For example, huge athletes like Daniel Cormier (96kg) would never face the likes of Henry Cejudo (55kg) because the weight difference is so large that it would become unfair.
In the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, there are 18 weight classes. These are divided into men’s and women’s freestyle classes and men’s Greco-roman.
|Men’s Freestyle||57 kg (125 lbs)||65 kg (143 lbs)||74 kg (163 lbs)||86 kg (190lbs)||97 kg (214 lbs)||125 kg (276 lbs)|
|Women’s Freestyle||50 kg (110 lbs)||53 kg (117 lbs)||57 kg (126 lbs)||62 kg (137 lbs)||68 kg (150 lbs)||76 kg (168 lbs)|
|Men’s Greco-roman||60 kg(132 lbs)||67 kg (148 lbs)||77 kg (170 lbs)||87 kg (192 lbs)||97 kg (214 lbs)||130 kg (287 lbs)|
As we all know, the Olympic stage is the highest level of competition in sports. However, it does not dictate the standards of weight classes for wrestling.
High School and collegiate tournaments have different weight classes for their competitors. The NCAA has 14 weight classes for high school and 10 for college.
Is wrestling based on weight?
Wrestling is based on weight because wrestlers are classified into different weight classes. Wrestlers can only face opponents in the same weight class as them. Establishing a fair matchup so wrestlers can compete at their best.
How important is weight in wrestling?
Compared to other sports, weight in wrestling is very crucial because it is a one-on-one match. Weight is the basis for creating as even and fair matchups as possible. Wrestlers compete in a weight class where they can showcase the best of their abilities.
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Before I discuss the impact of weight in wrestling, let me briefly explain the principle of weight cutting.
Weight cuts are significant in combat sports, sometimes even more important than training for the fighter itself. It may sound simple, but weight-cutting is very strategic.
When competitors are classified in a certain weight class, there is no guarantee that these wrestlers have the same body build. Despite having the same weight, wrestlers tend to have different physiques.
In a single weight class, you will see short and stocky wrestlers, the typical body type for the sport. However, you can also see taller and slimmer wrestlers who use their reach advantage to win a match.
Weight cutting is hard to fully grasp, so wrestlers hire weight trainers or weight specialists. They will determine the best dietary approach and workouts so wrestlers can lose weight safely.
Wrestlers also have different approaches to weight cuts. Most wrestlers pick classes close to their natural weight, so it is easier.
There are also what we call “weight bullies”; people who want to fight in lower weight classes despite having to train harder and lose more weight than usual.
To understand weight cutting more, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson explains how a UFC fighter cuts weight in the video above.
If a wrestler is on the heavier side, he is naturally stronger because he can exert more force with his body mass.
Light wrestlers, on the other hand, are faster and sometimes more flexible; however, these advantages rarely come into play because of weight classes.
Since there are weight classes, heavy wrestlers fight with other heavy wrestlers, and the same goes for lighter divisions.
What happens if you miss weight in wrestling?
Wrestling weigh-ins usually allow wrestlers to get on and off a scale twice. If the fighter misses weight both times, they let him get on for the last check if another scale is available. Wrestlers who completely miss weight will be disqualified from the competition.
How strong do you need to be for wrestling?
Strength is critical in wrestling, along with speed, conditioning, and endurance. To become a good wrestler, you must be able to easily lift the equivalent of your own body weight. Being able to lift your own weight means you can lift, throw, and control your opponents effectively.
Strength is a necessary quality you should have to become a successful wrestler. Strength is the foundation for wrestlers because when you are strong, you can develop other qualities, such as explosiveness.
Wrestlers need to improve their relative strength, which is the total amount of weight they can lift relative to their own weight. This will allow you to compete and dominate your opponents in your weight class.
Is it better to be heavier in a real fight?
In a real fight situation, the heavier fighter is always at an advantage. Heavier guys are naturally stronger, hit harder, and absorb more brutal blows. Defensively, they will have a harder time moving you. Size is the biggest factor in a street fight.
In a real fight, you never know who you will face. You can end up fighting men with different body builds anytime.
Being heavy gives you a lot of advantages because you can protect yourself better.
Despite size being the biggest factor in a fight, it isn’t always everything.
Being bigger or heavier means you are slower, and it will not work in your favor if you do not use a good technique in defending yourself.
That is why it is essential to learn any kind of martial arts, whether you are big or not.
Other factors also come into play in a street fight, such as endurance, fight IQ, experience, etc.
Final say on weight for wrestling
Weight is essential because it is the basis for wrestling. Managing your weight is part of your journey in participating in tournaments.
With proper weight management and training, fighters fight at their best level. Weight also comes with a strength that helps you in wrestling and in real fights.
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Joe Bloom is the lead author and editor of MMA Hive. Joe has been a passionate mixed martial artist in training since 2019, having studied Boxing and Muay Thai at BaliMMA and Soma Fight Club, as well as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with RitualsJJ.